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Portlander Who Founded App That Helps Plus-Size Diners Find Comfortable Restaurants Gets National Attention

Rebecca Alexander scored a New York Times feature for her Portland-based app AllGo

Rebecca Alexander wants to make it easier for plus-size people to eat out comfortably.

The free mobile app the Portlander created, AllGo, is a crowdsourcing platform for diners to share reviews about their dining experiences and map out which spots are most plus-size-friendly.

A year after launching the service, Alexander and her app have captured the attention of the New York Times.

Alexander is profiled as part of a cohort of activists nationwide pushing to make restaurants less daunting for people who identify as large, fat or plus-size.

AllGo, which has been backed by big names like author Roxane Gay and model Tess Holliday, will eventually expand to other cities. For now, it is only being tested in Portland.

"I started AllGo because we don't talk about the experiences of plus size people enough," Alexander tells WW. "So to have the New York Times put us front and center is really validating."

Alexander says the app is the product of 18 months of work, which she's funded partially by cashing out a 401(k) and moving out of her home of eight years to crash with various friends.

"I've made quite a few sacrifices," she says. "But I don't think of it that way, I think of it as investments."

AllGo as a company also consults with brands or corporations on how to make their spaces size inclusive. Alexander says she'd like to expand options within the app for people to leave reviews about doctors and physicians.

"We've heard people say the bigger they get, the smaller their world becomes," AllGo's website says. "We help people of size go out more, with less anxiety."

Alexander says the company is currently running on $55,000 raised through a Kickstarter campaign launched last April. After the publication of the Times article, she says she called up an angel investor and asked for $10,000. The money was sent the next day.

"The app is not generating revenue," she says. "That will come later, after we have substantial user base."

She continues: "People are really excited [AllGo] exists and say they feel lucky beta testing is happening here in Portland. But we got a lot of support in our Kickstarter—over 1,100 donated and not all of them live here. People are on pins and needles waiting to see it expand to other places in the country."

Read more about Alexander and her efforts to create a Portland Yelp for plus-size people here.